Six African countries launch regional livestock development project

Six African countries along with two international development partners launched a continental project- Africa Sustainable Livestock 2015 (ASL) to help them properly manage the sector.

Supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, ASL aims to address the challenges and opportunities related to long
term development of livestock sector in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, Nigeria and Burkina Faso.

“The reason we focused on these six countries is because we see strong economic growth that leads to very high demand for livestock products,” said Subhash Morzaria, global coordinator of FAO projects
focusing on trans-boundary animal diseases, animal production and health division.

The project aims helping the countries to assess the impact of livestock systems on public health, environment, and livelihoods today and in the year 2050. It also plans to identify priority investment for capacity enhancement to ensure that future livestock systems benefit society in the coming decades.

“But the project has significant impact on the rest of African countries,” he said indicating that if not properly planned and managed, increase in production of livestock can lead to many challenges, including harm to the environment and spread of catastrophic diseases such as avian flu and Ebola among others, which
are caused by animals.

“The project will be a good opportunity of learning from each other and minimize harms to environment with proper care and management we can assure sustainable livestock production,” said Fekadu Beyene (Professor), Minister of Livestock and Fisheries of Ethiopia.

ASL 2050 project will help the countries to develop the right policy that addresses the multiple challenges as they strive to meet the growing demand for the products in the continent and beyond, according to Morzaria.

FAO estimates that by the year 2050 the demand for beef, pork, poultry and dairy in Africa will increase by 417%, 677%, 331%, 164%, and respectively.

“The project helps the countries to look into the long term projector of livestock development and its impact on health environment, water and the like…The most important part is to look into the future in different scenarios,” said, Lindsay Parish, USAID Infectious Disease Division in Washington DC.

The launching of ASL 2050 followed two days meetings of experts from the six countries and international partners in Addis Ababa.